Proponents say recall bid vs Emano moving
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—Proponents are claiming that a move to unseat Mayor Vicente Emano by recall is gaining ground, predicting that a petition calling for new elections to remove the mayor would be able to collect at least 30,000 signatures by the end of the month.
At least 45,000 signatures are needed before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) could act on the petition for Emano’s recall.
Tito Mora, vice chair of the group Save CDO Now, said his group has collected at least 25,000 signatures since the drive was launched on Jan. 13.
“We aim to complete it before V-Day,” said Mora, V-Day being the day the petition is submitted to Comelec.
Save CDO Now said it filed complaints for gross negligence and dereliction of duty against Emano at the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG). A copy of the complaint was sent to Malacañang, said Mora.
Emano said the charges against him were baseless.
The recall move followed the Dec. 17 disaster here that killed at least 700 people in the city alone. Scores are still missing.
Lawyer James Judith, who filed the complaints at the DILG regional office here, said Emano was responsible for the deaths because of his failure to act on warnings against building communities along the Cagayan de Oro River.
Judith said the death toll would not have been as high had the city government not contributed to the construction of houses on sandbars and areas along the river.
Neric Acosta, presidential adviser on environmental protection, told a recent forum at Xavier University here that “it is wrong to give land titles on sandbars, where signs of danger are present.”
Emano’s detractors also alleged that when President Aquino came to the city and convened a meeting of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), Emano was unable to brief the President on efforts to help disaster victims.
The complaint also alleged that Emano did not convene the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (LDRRMC) at the height of the disaster.
Judith said his group believed that had Emano done his duties, the city could have been prepared for the disaster and prevented loss of lives.
Emano dismissed the recall move, saying it was the work of elitists.
The mayor, who is projecting a propoor image, said he sent spies to the Jan. 13 launching of the recall move and found it was being plotted by the elite sector of the city.
“They are elitists and not poor. Thus, they do not represent the city’s masses,” said Emano.
Mora said Emano was just trying to save himself by painting the movement as antipoor.
“First he said we were politicking. Now he says we’re elitists,” said Mora.
“The fact is we only want Emano and the political principles he represents out of the office he has dishonored and degraded for 13 long years,” he said.
Emano said he would put up a legal fight should he be suspended by the DILG on the basis of the complaint against him.
Judith said his group gathered pieces of evidence to support the complaint, including a copy of an ordinance that showed the city was not prepared when the disaster struck.
The ordinance called for preparations for disaster and set aside P84.7 million for the purchase of equipment, ambulances and rubber boats.
According to Judith, the city government failed to implement the ordinance until the Dec. 17 disaster struck.
“It was already too late,” said Judith. Bobby Lagsa, Inquirer Mindanao